The Buffalo Bills reportedly have a decision to make coming their way.
Last week, the Bills placed an original round tender of $2.4 million on one of their restricted free agents, Ryan Bates. In doing so, Bates becomes a semi free agent.
Placing a tender on a RFA means the player can then go on to speak with other teams. If the player then signs an offer from another club, Buffalo would then have an opportunity to match that deal and keep the player–Bates in this case.
Enter the Chicago Bears, one of a few teams connected to Bates.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the Bears will sign Bates to an offer sheet:
Sounds like Ryan Bates intends to sign an offer sheet from the #Bears. When he does, #Bills will have 5 days to match the contract. He also visited #Patriots and #Vikings. Bates is a restricted free agent.
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) March 24, 2022
Bates, 25, has been a key depth piece along Buffalo’s offense line for a few years since being acquired via trade with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2019. That deal originally mostly had to do with his versatility to play every position on the offensive line, something the Bills still covet.
In 2021, Bates finally got his first dose of starting time.
In Week 15, he began starting at left guard for Buffalo. Even when former starter Jon Feliciano returned to full health, Bates still held onto the job into the playoffs.
The Bills did appear to be very impressed with Bates, as general manager Brandon Beane praised Bates at his end of season press conference. Specifically, Beane said Bates brought the best out of left tackle Dion Dawkins.
However, now things have changed a bit in that area.
Rodger Saffold signed with Buffalo during free agency and he indicated that he is slated to play at left guard. Bates could be a candidate to play at right guard, but what this situation will easily come down to is dollars.
The Bills will have five days from Bates’ signing of the offer sheet to decided whether or not they will match it.
Currently there is report on the finances for Chicago’s offer to Bates.